'S Wonderful Review

Published: Monday, March 5, 2012 7:00 am By: William Reynolds Source: Rockland Lifestyle

Springtime is just around the corner.  The old adage tells us that Spring is the season in which a young man's fancy turns to love. The Westchester Broadway Theatre is currently showcasing Ray Roderick's "S Wonderful"  The show is a musical tribute to two giants of the American Musical Theatre, George (1898-1937)  and Ira Gershwin (1896-1983).   Mr. Roderick conceived, wrote and directed this production, which takes us on a musical journey across the United States and Europe, covering a span from 1928 to the present.   Along the way, the audience is re-introduced to the Gershwins' most enduring songs. "Nice Work If You Can Get it" " I Got Rhythm," "The Man I Love,'" "Somebody Loves Me,"  "They Can't Take that Away From Me," and "Embraceable You," are just a few of the songs featured in five mini-musicals.    The show starts in New York City in 1928.  A downtrodden, down on his luck copy boy for a New York City newspaper dreams of making it big as an investigative reporter.  In a stroke of sheer genius on the part of Mr. Roderick, our hero is named Harold, who brings to life the iconic character created by the silent film star Harold Lloyd. A short, thin man with round rimmed glasses, straw hat and rubber face.  Blakely Slaybaugh deftly portrays this legendary screen comedian with such precision and accuracy, it is, simply astonishing.  Young Harold fantasizes about becoming an investigative reporter, and perhaps, the woman of his dreams.  His dilemma is soon realized when he not only stumbles upon the woman, whom authorities suspect is the culprit behind a series of thefts of jewelry and other luxury items, but also finds the woman he has been waiting for his whole life. Harold sings "I've Got a Crush on You" to Leslie, while he sorts out what the proper thing to do is.  Does he report her to the authorities, earning him his first cover story for the newspaper, or does he follow his heart?    

The next musical vignette takes the audience to New Orleans in 1957.  The singing duo of Nina and Jane give a rousing rendition of the title song from the play  "Of Thee I Sing," which earned the Gershwins a Pulitzer Prize.  The 1931 show was the first musical to be so honored.  The act comes to an abrupt end when Jane announces that she is marrying, moving to New York,  going solo on her singing career and embarking on a world tour.  A bereft Nina looks over the series of postcards she receives from Jane, including one from London, at which time, she sings "A Foggy Day." But it is "Summertime" that